When we left 24: Live Another Day, Jack Bauer's worst enemy was trying to start the next international war. In this next-to-last episode, we discover that he's even ticked off at his own country now, that you can't keep a good actor off camera, and that Audrey and Mark's marriage is probably doomed. Or at least, Mark is doomed. And no one much cares.
Hey, this week we actually get to see Philip Winchester and not just hear him. Someone please give this man a gun and let him go save some lives. He's definitely needed, because there's a Chinese carrier sinking, and Jack and Kate are still engaged in a shootout in which no one is running out of bullets. The latter provides evidence for Cheng to realize Jack is still alive, and he promptly decides it's time to go, which would be fine except for that he's taking Chloe with him.
CIA backup arrives to extricate Jack and Kate from the ambush (and shocker - Jack actually admits that he's low on ammunition), so that they can continue pursuing the override device. They come upon the scene of the mass murder and discover that Chloe is missing, Cross is dead, and Chloe's phone has recorded everything. Recognizing Cheng's voice on the recording, Jack immediately calls the President and informs him who the real bad guy is. Heller can easily deduce that the sinking of the Chinese carrier was ordered by Cheng with the override device, and he demands that Jack find it so the United States can prove to China that we're not really ticked off at them.
Audrey is understandably upset, since she was also captured and tortured by Cheng years ago, and she's about to get more upset. With the help of Erik and Replacement Jordan back at the CIA, Jack gets another bombshell dropped on him: that Mark has not been playing nice. We subsequently discover that Cheng is in league with Mark's Russian friend, and the two arrange to meet and get out of the country together, just before the Russian goes into a mysterious house. We don't think he's just there for dinner with the peanut M&M.
Back at the U.S. Embassy, while everyone else stands around looking very serious, President Heller tries to make amends with the Chinese, insisting that the attack on their craft was "a mistake." Naturally, the Chinese are skeptical about this, and there's a not so thinly veiled threat in there. Heller still thinks the only way to avert disaster is to produce both the override device and Cheng himself.
Audrey offers to look up a contact at the Chinese Embassy, while everyone else goes back to pushing buttons and looking at screens until Philip Winchester tells the President that the Chinese military is already on the move. "Whatever their plan of action may be," he says, "They're not wasting any time." All the more reason that somebody should just give you a sniper rifle already, dude. He wants to escalate the alert level, but Heller balks at this idea - and then Jack turns up wanting a private audience with Heller and Mark.
Behind closed doors, with a gun in Mark's face, it all comes out. Mark tries to explain his way out of the trouble he's goten himself into, until he realizes he's been talking to a member of Russian intelligence. Heller tells his son-in-law that he's going to be placed under arrest for treason, but Jack insists that Mark can be useful, wanting him to set up a meeting with the Russian. Jack, Mark, and Kate all pile into a car to go over to the Russian's house, with Erik and Replacement Jordan helping them from afar. This is the worst road trip ever.